What is the best handgun for home defense? It is an unfortunate reality that serious crime is increasing in many areas and it can affect any of us. If you wake up in the middle of the night with an intruder in your house, you will want to defend yourself with the best weapon possible. You do not know if the intruder is armed, dangerous and violent. If you find yourself in such a dangerous situation, you will want to know that the weapon by your side is both reliable and effective in defending your and your loved ones from an attacker.
When Choosing the Best Handgun for Home Defense
Choosing the best handgun for home defense is not as easy as just walking into your local gun shop and picking the first handgun. There are some key considerations you should keep in mind when you look for the best handgun for home defense that will fit your needs and level of experience/gun proficiency.
Rifle/Shotgun vs a Handgun
Before we dive into what the best handgun for home defense is, let us just think about the pros and cons of using a rifle or shotgun for home defense. Is a handgun the best gun for home defense?
Shotguns are excellent home defense weapons. Due to the extended sight radius and the way you hold a shotgun when shooting it, it makes it very easy to aim. However, as you need to use both hands to hold the gun when in a shooting posture, it will makes things like opening doors or even turning on lights difficult. And if you do not have agun mounted flashlight attached to your shotgun, you won’t be able to hold a flashlight while you are busy looking for the bad guy in your house. Additionally, a shotgun can be a tactical hindrance if you need to move around in confined spaces where the long barrel could get in the way when you need to react quickly.
Shotguns do not shoot precise shots, especially if you are using 00 buckshot. This means that a stray pellet that did not hit your intended target can hit an innocent bystander or at the least cause damage to your home. On the other hand rifles (like let’s say the AR-15 platform) have much more precise shots, but then there is the over-penetration issue where a bullet can go right through your target and still hit someone else. Or it might even go through a wall or window and hit one of your neighbours.
Rifles have the same challenges that shotguns will have in terms of having a free hand and being manoeuvrable inside a small space. It does have the advantage of having a higher ammunition capacity, higher penetration ability and more precise shots.
A handgun has the advantages of being precise (as long as the shooter of course knows what he/she is doing), being small enough to manoeuvre easily in small spaces without being a hindrance and freeing up one of your hands if you need it. It does not have the same penetration ability and ammunition capacity as a rifle, but when you are in a self-defense situation in your home you should not need the added penetration ability or ammunition capacity that a rifle offers.
Pistol vs Revolver
When you talk about what the best handgun for home defense might be, a lot of people automatically start thinking of pistols. After all, revolvers are considered old technology while pistols are made from space age materials! It is certainly true that pistols have some advantages over revolvers, but revolves do have some qualities that make them good home defense weapons. Pistols are semi-automatic, have more ammunition capacity than revolvers and are easier to aim thanks to lighter trigger pull (a lighter trigger pull means you are less likely to move off target as you fire the weapon…resulting in deadlier accuracy). Of course you can also add additional features to a pistol for home defense, such as a tactical flashlight or lazer, which could give you a tactical advantage over the bad guy in your house.
While pistols provide a better aim, they do have more moving parts that can go wrong. Think about it, if you are in a deadly situation where some scum bag is in your house and your pistol suddenly jams…!! That jammed round can cost you precious time and give the bad guy the attacking advantage. It is a lot more difficult to remove a jammed cartridge from a pistol under stress than it is with a revolver. If you have a revolver, all you need to do is pull the trigger again to rotate the cylinder so a new round is aligned with the barrel.
On the other side, revolvers are much more difficult to reload than a pistol. Combined with the lower ammunition capacity, that can make things dicey of you get into a shootout.
So looking at the above, there are some pros and cons to each choice. If you are an inexperienced gun handler that might not be able to handle a handgun proficiently under stress, then a revolver is a reliable and easy to use weapon. However if you are proficient with your pistol and want the safety of having the extra ammunition capacity as well as the ability to add tactical accessories, then a pistol is the best handgun for home defense.
Caliber and Ammunition
We talked in our article what is the most accurate handgun about how a lot of people assume that the larger the caliber the better! While a .45 caliber will scare the pants off of most intruders, it is also often less accurate than a smaller caliber like 9mm. We would much rather hit the scum bag that is breaking in with a 9mm than miss with a .45. There are of course a lot of people who will prefer to have a large caliber, however just be aware that a large caliber will not always get the job done as you would hope. As we also mentioned above, a larger caliber could also cause unintentional damage to others due to the increased penetration power. You also need to be physically big enough and strong enough to handle a .45 caliber handgun effectively. If you are smaller and have smaller hands, a large caliber handgun can be more of a disadvantage and danger to you than an advantage.
In terms of ammo, hollow point ammo is probably the way to go. It is designed to expand on impact, which means it is less likely to go through the bad guy and hit someone or something else behind them unintentionally. A hollow point bullet of course also creates a much larger wound then ball ammo. If you do use hollow point ammo, just be sure to know what the laws and regulations are in your state for such ammo. You can see more on gun and ammo laws here.
Top Choices for the best handgun for home defense
Heckler & Koch USP
The H&K USP also featured on our article of the most reliable handguns…and for good reason! The USP (Universelle Selbstladepistole or “universal self-loading pistol”) is a semi-automatic pistol developed in Germany by Heckler & Koch GmbH (H&K) of Oberndorf am Neckar as a replacement for the P7 series of handguns.
By using a modular approach to the internal components, the control functions of the USP can be switched from the left to the right side of the pistol for left-handed shooters. The USP can also be converted from one type of trigger/firing mode to another. This includes combination of double-action and single-action (DA/SA) modes and double-action only (DAO) modes.
In addition to a wide selection of trigger/firing modes, the USP has an ambidextrous magazine release lever that is shielded by the trigger guard from inadvertent actuation. The rear of the USP grip is stepped, and combines well with the tapered magazine, making magazine changes faster due to lack of user-assisted guiding. Finger recesses in the grip frame also aid in magazine removal.
There are several variants of the H&K USP. If you want to go really tactical, there are the USP Tactical, USP Compact Tactical and USP Elite variants available.
The USP is availabe in the following calibers: 9×19mm Parabellum, .357 SIG, .40 S&W and .45 ACP.
If you decide to decide that a revolver is the best handgun for home defence, then HandgunMag.com believes the Ruger LCR is the best revolver option.
The Ruger LCR is a compact revolver built by Ruger. The LCR acronym stands for ‘Lightweight Compact Revolver’. It incorporates several novel features such as a polymer grip and trigger housing, monolithic receiver, and constant force trigger. At 13.5 oz (380 g), the LCR is nearly 50% lighter than the stainless steel Ruger SP101 and with only the barrel and fluted cylinder made of stainless steel. The frame is aluminum alloy and synthetic glass-filled polymer finished in matte black with Synergistic Hard Coat. The LCR operates in double-action only (DAO) as the hammer is concealed within the frame handle’s fire control housing of the gun and cannot be cocked prior to firing. In order to create a crisp and light trigger pull that is non-stacking, it features a friction reducing cam, a feature seldom found on double-action revolvers (which by nature of their mechanism normally have a very heavy trigger pull).
Calibers available for the Ruger LCR are .22 LR, .22 WMR,.38 Special +P,.357 Magnum and 9mm Parabellum.
This revolver has been specifically designed with home defense in mind. The Taurus Judge is a five shot revolver designed and produced by Taurus International, chambered for .410 bore shot shells and the .45 Colt cartridge. Shotshells for use in handguns have long been made by loading handgun cartridges with shot rather than single bullet. Standard rifling designed to stabilize bullets scatters shot limiting its effectiveness to very short range. To meet this market, Taurus designed the .45 Colt/.410 Judge to use both bulleted cartridges and .410 shotshells. The rifling of the Judge barrel is designed to stabilize bullets but not unduly scatter shot.
If you want a weapon that is simple, not too big, has decent ammunition capacity and can take all sort of modifications, then the Glock 19 is an excellent contender to be the best handgun for home defense.
The Glock 19 is effectively a reduced-size Glock 17 and was first produced in 1988, primarily for military and law enforcement. The Glock 19 has a barrel and pistol grip that are shorter by approximately 12 mm (0.5 in) compared to the Glock 17 and uses a magazine with a standard capacity of 15 rounds. The pistol is compatible with factory magazines from the Glock 17 and Glock 18, giving the Glock 19 available capacities of: 17 rounds (standard magazine with +2 extension), 10, 17, and 19 (standard Glock 17 magazine with +2), and the 31 (standard Glock 18 magazine with +2 removed) and 33 rounds of the Glock 18.
What do you think – what is the best handgun for home defense
We hope none of you ever have to use your handgun for home defense. But if you do, we hope you have the best handgun available! What do you think is the best handgun for home defense? If you think there are other and better handguns out there specifically for home defense, please share it in our comments section below.